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The PennComm Operations Center now has access to live security camera feeds from the underground subway stations around campus through a partnership with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA).

Credit: Morgan Rees

The Penn Police patrol zone has just gone underground. Penn Police can now access live security camera feeds from subway stations around campus through a partnership with SEPTA.

The PennComm Operations Center housed within the Division of Public Safety now has instant live access to 118 cameras from eight SEPTA stations on and around campus. Though they could previously go into subway stations, with the cameras, Penn Police will now be able to respond much quicker to crimes that are committed in or near SEPTA stations.

“This was a great step forward to expanding our security net now underground,” Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush said. “We have faculty, staff and students using the subways, and it makes their experience safer.”

The ability to link the closed-circuit television camera feeds only arrived in the last few years, according to DPS. Public safety and security technology officials call this “technological convergence.”

Rush said that the camera feeds would now help police respond more quickly to situations in which a perpetrator may try to flee the scene of a crime by subway or if private property is reported stolen on the train or on the subway platforms.

The convergence was made possible through a contract with SEPTA, a Memorandum of Understanding, that was negotiated between the University and SEPTA with the help of Penn’s Office of General Counsel.

“Thomas Nestel [Chief of SEPTA Transit Police] and VP Rush saw the benefit as a force multiplier,” Director of PennComm and Emergency Communications Mitchell Yanak said. “It’s beautiful because we all have the same common goal to keep people safe.”

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